EXCLUSIVE: The Conor Shoemark column

Conditional jockey and Standard columnist Conor Shoemark

Conditional jockey and Standard columnist Conor Shoemark

First published in Sport

AINTREE was just amazing. I had a busy week which was topped off by a couple of rides at the Grand National Festival meeting.

On Friday, I rode in the Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle.

I stayed up in Liverpool on Friday night and had a quiet dinner in the evening with other jockeys and some of the valets.

I got an early night before the big day when I rode in the conditional jockeys' hurdle race immediately after the Grand National itself.

Both my rides finished in midfield but the experience was out of this world.

The atmosphere was electric, it was a big, momentous day for everyone and I feel privileged to have been riding there.

To top it all off, my boss Fergal O'Brien's Alvarado ran a cracking race in the Grand National to finish fourth under a great ride from Paul Moloney.

It was a great huge lift for the yard and a fantastic result for Fergal on his first attempt at the historic race.

Huge congratulations to Leighton Aspell who rode the winner Pineau De Re.

I’m from the same village in Sussex as Leighton and we’re great friends. I’ve even ridden point-to-point horses for him. It’s really nice to see him doing so well after coming back from a brief retirement.

Since Aintree it’s been back to normal for me. I travelled to Kelso in Scotland earlier in the week to ride a horse for trainer Alison Hamilton. You certainly cover a fair few miles as a jockey! Today I have several rides at Towcester, which will keep me busy, and I’m at Fontwell tomorrow.

A great week all in all. I’ll now look forward to the bet365 jumps finale at Sandown Park on Saturday, April 26.

The feature race, the bet365 Gold Cup, has attracted many top winners over the years, including Arkle and Desert Orchid.

The Celebration Chase on the card was won last year by Sire De Grugy, who’s now a firm fans' favourite after his win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

It should be great day. If you’d like to find out more and to book tickets visit www.sandown.co.uk.

Conor Shoemark is sponsored by Agetur UK.

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